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Today in Crypto: Bitget Q3 Report Finds BGB Trading Volume Exceeded $1.3 Billion, US Doctor Pleaded Guilty to Hiring Hitman With BTC, Beluga Raises $4 Million

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Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

Exchange news

  • Bitget released a financial report highlighting the platform's achievements for Q3 2023, stating that, despite the spot trading and derivative trading volume on centralized exchanges (CEXs) declining by 22% and 23%, respectively, Bitget achieved one of the highest increases in market share of 9.43%. It further reported that the BGB token reached the top 5 CEX tokens by market cap, with a 300% year-to-date price growth; the number of BGB holders overpassed 350,000 in Q3; the trading volume for BGB exceeded $1.3 billion; the exchange unveiled its expansion plans into the Middle East region, and it launched the $100 million fund to support the Web3 ecosystem. 

Crime news

  • A Georgia, USA, doctor pleaded guilty to using the dark web to hire a hitman to kill his girlfriend, paying over $16,000 in bitcoin (BTC) for the job. According to the US Attorney's Office, the order included the victim’s name, address, Facebook account, license plate, and car description, with James Wan (54) stating: "Can take wallet phone and car. Shoot and go. Or take car." In April 2022, Wan transferred a 50% downpayment of approximately $8,000 in BTC to the dark web marketplace, but that payment was lost, so he followed it up with another one. The administrator confirmed the new address was correct and that the BTC had arrived in the escrow account. A week later, he sent another $8,000 worth of BTC to ensure his escrow account contained the total required to complete the order, followed by $1,200 in May after the BTC price had dropped. FBI agents learned about the order, notified the victim, and provided her protection, the press release said.

Investment news

  • Crypto platform Beluga announced a $4 million seed round from crypto and FinTech investors. The round was led by Fin Capital with participation from Anagram, UDHC, Dispersion Capital, Aptos Labs, 2 Punks Capital, Borderless Capital, Kyber Capital, 186 Ventures, W11 Capital, Rubik Ventures, and more. Angel investors included Charlie Lee, Founder of Litecoin; Mike Lempres, Former Chief Risk and Legal Officer of Coinbase; Brandon Gath, Head of Kraken Ventures; Akash Garg, Former CTO of MoonPay; Salil Pitroda, Former Blockchain.com Board Observer; Howard Lindzon, Co-Founder of Stocktwits; and Jim Robinson, Co-Founder of RRE Ventures. According to the press release, in the coming months, Beluga plans to launch more tools to help onboard new users and help them find and use the best crypto products. 

Regulation news

  • The use of cryptocurrency by Hamas to fund its strike on Israel is likely to raise red flags in Asian countries that are framing regulations to govern the digital currency, the South China Morning Post reported, citing analysts. "It is a kick on the backside for most governments. All regulatory bodies will take a closer look at crypto regulation. Governments will need to start implementing new rules and regulations," said Raj Kapoor, founder of India Blockchain Alliance. Some countries may even "bring up the narrative that banning cryptocurrencies is the way forward," argued Anndy Lian, Singapore-based author of the book NFT: From Zero to Hero. He added that banning crypto would just drive terrorist financing underground and make it harder to trace and stop. "Cryptocurrencies can be traced and tracked, while fiat (currency) such as US dollars cannot." Terrorist financing underscores the need for harmonizing standards across jurisdictions, analysts opined.

AI news

  • ELONN.AI (ENHANCED_LANGUAGE_ORIENTED_NEURAL_NETWORK), backed by SMART VALOR, a Switzerland-based technology company and the only digital asset exchange listed on Nasdaq in Europe, today announced the first stage of its product roadmap and the app launch. Per an announcement, "in a bold pursuit to disrupt the supremacy of Big Tech in the realm of AI, the founders' vision is to craft an AI companion, elevating every investment experience with heightened intelligence, safety, and effortless simplicity." Olga Feldmeier, the Chief Evengelizer of ELONN.AI, said that "we believe that the future of AI is decentralized, open-source and does not belong in walled gardens." As an initiator, SMART VALOR, has funded the initial development of ELONN.AI for the amount of $14 million, with part of the funding stemming from the company’s initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq First North last year, it said.

Blockchain news

  • Q Development AG, the company supporting the decentralized Q Protocol, which works to strengthen the governance of blockchain-based projects, announced the beginning of stage two of its Saving & Borrowing Incentive Program. Per the press release, the initiative is designed to encourage the use of Q’s Saving and Borrowing platform, which enables users to borrow QUSD stablecoins against collateral such as WBTC, DAI, and USDC. Users receive Q tokens for asset bridging when assets are transferred from Ethereum to Q; locking collateral assets into a Q vault; and parking QUSD stablecoins within Q’s Saving Portal. The initiative comprises three phases, each lasting three weeks, with subsequent phases only commencing should a pre-set total value locked (TVL) goal be met. The current phase requires users to lock a total of $500,000 by October 29, it said.